VIDEO 5 Things Pastors Need to Stop Doing Immediately

Shane Idleman
Contributor to ChristianHeadlines.com Sept 10, 2019

5 Things Pastors Need to Stop Doing Immediately

Pastors, we are not just cheerleaders, we are game-changers. We are called to stir and to convict so that change takes place. Granted, there are many wonderful pastors and churches—I appreciate their ministry, but, as a whole, the church has drifted off course. They have lost the compass of truth – many are more concerned about wine tasting and craft beers than truly seeking the heart of God.  

The pulpit regulates the spiritual condition of God’s people which affects the nation. A lukewarm, sex-saturated culture (and church) simply reflects the lack of conviction in the pulpit as well as the pew.

Pastors and Christian leaders alike must take responsibility for the spiritual health of today’s church, and the nation. We don’t need more marketing plans, demographic studies, or giving campaigns; we need men filled with the Spirit of God.

This is not a letter of rebuke (I’m in no position to do that) – it’s a tear-stained plea that we once again seek the heart of God. Here are five issues we need to overcome:

1. Stop watering down the gospel. The truth is often watered-down in the hope of not offending members and building a large audience. Judgment is never mentioned and repentance is rarely sought. We want to build a church rather than break a heart; be politically correct rather than biblically correct; coddle and comfort rather than stir and convict. The power of the gospel is found in the truth about the gospel – the edited version does not change lives.

2. Stop focusing only on encouragement. We all need encouragement, that’s a given, but most people feel beaten down because they’re not hearing more about repentance – “repent and experience times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord” (cf. Acts 3:19). To truly help people, we must preach the difficult truths as well as the joyful ones; preach the cross and the new life; preach hell and preach heaven; preach damnation and preach salvation; preach sin and preach grace; preach wrath and preach love; preach judgment and preach mercy; preach obedience and preach forgiveness; preach that God “is love,” but don’t forget that God is just. It is the love of God that compels us to share all of His truth.

3. Stop getting your message from pop-psychology or the latest fad. All of us must return to the prayer closet where brokenness, humility, and full surrender take place. God prepares the messenger before we prepare the message. Without prayer, “the church becomes a graveyard, not an embattled army. Praise and prayer are stifled; worship is dead. The preacher and the preaching encourage sin, not holiness…preaching which kills is prayerless preaching. Without prayer, the preacher creates death, and not life” (E.M. Bounds). “Without the heartbeat of prayer, the body of Christ will resemble a corpse. The church is dying on her feet because she is not living on her knees” (Al Whittinghill).

4. Stop trying to be like the world. If a pastor fills his mind with the world all week and expects the Spirit of God to speak boldly through him from the pulpit, he will be gravely mistaken. “The sermon cannot rise in its life-giving forces above the man. Dead men give out dead sermons, and dead sermons kill. Everything depends on the spiritual character of the preacher” (E.M. Bounds). Who he is all week is who he will be when he steps to the pulpit. We are called to the separated life guided by the Holy Spirit not Hollywood.

When God brings change, separation and prayer have been the catalyst. The dry, dead lethargic condition of the church simply reflects our lack of being filled with the Spirit. While 5-minute devotionals and prayers are good, they aren’t going to cut it in these dire times. We need powerful times of prayer, devotion, and worship. Again, God prepares the messenger before we prepare the message. It takes broken men to break men. Unplug the tv, turn off Facebook, and get back into the Word, prayer, and worship.

5. Stop asking, “Will this topic offend my audience?” and start asking, “Will my silence offend God?”A paraphrase that is often attributed to Alexis De Tocqueville—a Frenchman who authored Democracy in America in the early 1800s, helps to better understand this point: “I looked throughout America to find where her greatness originated. I looked for it in her harbors and on her shorelines, in her fertile fields and boundless prairies, and in her gold mines and vast world commerce, but it was not there…It was not until I went to the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her success. America is great because she is good, and if America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”

Is your pulpit aflame with righteousness – it all begins here.

More at www.ShaneIdleman.com.

Watch, I Remember When the Church Prayed

Photo courtesy: Getty Images/4 Maksym

Video courtesy: Shane Idleman

https://www.crosswalk.com/church/pastors-or-leadership/things-pastors-need-to-stop-doing-immediately.html

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Major U.S. city bans Christian agencies from helping kids

Faces claim of causing ‘grave harm’

By Bob Unruh   September 1, 2019

(Image courtesy Pixabay)

The briefs are flooding in at the U.S. Supreme Court in a case in which the justices are being asked to reverse a Philadelphia policy that critics say is causing “grave harm” to children.

The policy bars faith-based foster-care agencies from helping needy children, points out a brief from 44 members of Congress asking the court to review a lawsuit against the city brought by Catholic Social Services.

“Religiously motivated providers and parents have played a critical role in filling this need for centuries from coast to coast, and to drive them out ignores the critical need and the grave harm to children that would be caused by their loss,” the lawmakers told the court.

In another brief, officials from 10 states argued that working “with a diverse coalition of child-placing agencies provides better services to children in foster care and the potential parents eager to care for them.”

As WND reported, the city ordered Catholic Social Services to change its religious doctrine if it wanted to continue placing foster children as it had for a century.

The city’s “nondiscrimination” policy requires any partner agency to place children with same-sex couples.

Catholic Social Services, represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, sued the city and now are appealing to the Supreme Court.

‘Children are suffering the consequences’

Becket senior counsel Lori Windham said that as Philadelphia “attempts to shamelessly score political points, dozens of beds remain empty and children are suffering the consequences.”

“It’s time for the Supreme Court to weigh in and allow faith-based agencies to continue doing what they do best: giving vulnerable children loving homes,” she said.

The case was brought on behalf of foster mothers Sharonell Fulton and Toni Simms-Busch.

Fulton has fostered more than 40 children over 25 years, while Simms-Busch is a former social worker who fostered two young brothers and now has adopted them.

Becket noted that last year, Philadelphia officials put called for 300 more foster families to care for a growing number of children.

But the city banned CSS families, even though “not a single same-sex couple had ever come to CSS seeking to foster.”

“Without new referrals, the number of children in homes certified and cared for by CSS has dwindled, leaving foster families’ homes empty and forcing CSS to reduce their staff. The only way CSS can care for foster children is through a contract and license with the city. If the city cuts ties with CSS, the agency will soon be forced to close its 100-year-old foster care ministry,” the organization said.

Windham argued that the foster care system “relies on agencies that reflect the diversity of our communities.”

“That’s why it is so important to have faith-based agencies working alongside agencies that cater to ethnic and racial minorities, children with disabilities, and LGBT families,” she said.

‘Overwhelming need’

The members of Congress argued that the need for foster families is “overwhelming.”

“Over 5,000 children in Philadelphia, over 16,000 children in Pennsylvania, and over 437,000 children in the United States are currently in need of foster care. In the face of this overwhelming need, the city of Philadelphia elected to close one of the city’s most successful foster care agencies and to shun the services of scores of foster parents,” they wrote.

“The city’s decision was unnecessary (as the city has identified no harm it needs to remedy), was contrary to historic practices and legal precedent, and was a heart-wrenching reduction in the already insufficient pool of available foster homes.”

The brief from the states pointed out the long historic links between states and religious foster care services.

“Religious entities have been involved in the provision of foster-care services longer that many states have existed,” the brief said.

A number of states already have enacted laws expressly protecting “the religious liberty of faith-based child-placing agencies.”

But the Supreme Court needs to rule because those states now are vulnerable to lawsuits by LGBT activists if they work with religious agencies and depriving children of needed care if they don’t.

Also, the brief argued, partnering “with religiously affiliated foster groups allows the states to demonstrate their commitment to free exercise.”

 

In April, 3rd Circuit judges Thomas Ambro, Anthony Scirica and Marjorie Rendell endorsed the city’s policy.

The case centers on whether or not “a government violates the First Amendment by conditioning a religious agency’s ability to participate in the foster care system on taking actions and making statements that directly contradict the agency’s religious beliefs.”

The dispute provides “an important opportunity” for the Supreme Court to “apply the First Amendment to a post-Obergefell system in which same-sex marriage co-exists with the ‘proper protection’ owed to ‘religious organizations.'”

Obergefell was the landmark 2015 ruling that created same-sex marriage.

Despite the Obergefell opinion’s promise to protect religious rights, U.S. District Judge Petrese Tucker ruled the city could order the Catholics to place foster children with same-sex foster parents in violation of their religious beliefs.

CSS has charged the city’s policy is motivated by religious hostility, and foster mother Fulton has argued the policy causes “harm and heartache.”

“What justice is there in taking stable, loving homes away from children? If the city cuts off Catholic Social Services from foster care, foster moms like me won’t have the help and support they need to care for special-needs kids,” said Fulton. “I have relied on Catholic Social Services for support for years, and the city is taking away this help and causing harm and heartache to countless families like mine.”

 

Original here


Narrow Path Ministries is in the process of opening an orphanage. An Endowment fund has been established  to fund the orphanage.



EFCA Now Considers Premillennialism a Non-Essential

The denomination drops end times doctrine from its statement of faith in a move to “major on the majors” and “minor on the minors.”

EFCA Now Considers Premillennialism a Non-Essential
DANIEL SILLIMAN AUGUST 23, 2019

 

The Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA) changed its position on end times theology, voting this summer to drop the word “premillennial” from the denomination’s statement of faith.

Many of the 350,000 people who belong to EFCA churches still believe Jesus will return to earth to reign as king for 1,000 years, but the denomination no longer considers that doctrine essential to the gospel.

An internal document explaining the rationale for the change says premillennialism “is clearly a minority position among evangelical believers.” Premillennialism has been a “denominational distinctive” for the EFCA, according to the document, but shouldn’t be overemphasized.

“The thought was, we must either stop saying we are a denomination that majors on the majors … and minors on the minors, or we must stop requiring premillennialism as the one and only eschatological position,” said Greg Strand, EFCA executive director of theology, in an interview with Ed Stetzer.

The revised statement says, “We believe in the personal, bodily and glorious return of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Whether or not Jesus will set up a literal kingdom on earth for a millennium is left to individual discretion.

The EFCA has been considering the change for more than a decade. John Woodbridge, a professor of church history at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDS), the ECFA-affiliated seminary in Deerfield, Illinois, spoke in favor of the shift back in 2008.

“People really saw high stakes in the move. One person of great stature told me that if you give up premillennialism, you will give up biblical inerrancy,” Woodbridge told CT. “For me, I never made that connection. John Calvin, Martin Luther, and others, certainly in the Reformed tradition, had a high view of Scripture, but they were never premillennial.”

The US church didn’t accept that argument in 2008, but the Canadian branch of the denomination did.

“It just happened to be easier for us,” said Bill Taylor, executive director of the Evangelical Free Church of Canada. “There’s a stronger dispensationalist history in the US than we have in Canada.”

Taylor said, looking back, the change was good for the Canadian evangelicals—and the darker predictions didn’t come true. “We’ve had no slippery slope to an allegorical approach to the Word,” he said. “There’s no pull toward liberalism, so there’s no negative impact in that way.”

When issue came up again in the EFCA leadership conference this year, a majority of US delegates were ready to vote to drop the word premillennial. The revision passed 79 percent to 21 percent.

Matthew Avery Sutton, a US historian at Washington State University and the author of American Apocalypse: A History of Modern Evangelicalism, was surprised by the timing.

“Emphasis on premillennialism waxes and wanes,” Sutton said. “There are moments of tremendous global chaos in which the church returns to premillennialism, and there are moments of more peace and stability, during which premillennialism takes a back seat. I am surprised that this is one of those moments in which the Evangelical Free Church of America is backing away from it. Things seem pretty chaotic to me, and the future looks pretty dark.”

The change was met with nonchalance at TEDS, where the faculty signed the revised EFCA statement of faith before the start of the school year.

“It’s not a huge topic,” said Graham Cole, the academic dean. “I’m not aware, of all my years here, of any big controversy over the issue.”

Dropping “premillennial” from the faith statement will mean one big change for Trinity, though.

“We’ll have a much larger pool from which to hire,” Cole said. “Our faculty have to hold to an inerrant Bible and the gospel of grace, but that eschatological barrier is removed.”

https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2019/august/efca-drops-premillennialism-evangelical-free-church-teds.html

When Trauma on the Field Creates Trauma in the Home

After their son suffered a devastating brain injury playing football, Pat and Tammy McLeod saw their marriage put to the test.

JOYCE KOO DALRYMPLE| SEPTEMBER 5, 2019

When Trauma on the Field Creates Trauma in the Home

The family and friends of Zach McLeod gathered at a church in Boston for a solemn ceremony entitled “A Time to Mourn.” They watched a video of his life from birth until the devastating accident he suffered at age 16. Zach had been a gifted athlete, student leader, and beloved friend. His mother spoke of how much she missed hearing Zach’s prayers, thoughts, and dreams. Guests wrote down what they missed most about the young man they had known—the young man they would never see again.

Then, later that day, the same group reconvened. This time they celebrated a new life and watched a video showing milestones of progress. Who were they celebrating? Zach McLeod. In fact, Zach himself attended this ceremony, called “A Time to Dance.” He was elated to see so many friends and family members, to see and to hear their affirmations of what they appreciated about him.

If this sounds like a confusing day, not to mention an emotional whipsaw, welcome to the world of “ambiguous loss.” And welcome to Hit Hard: One Family’s Journey of Letting Go of What Was—and Learning to Live Well with What Is, a powerful new book by Zach’s parents, Pat and Tammy McLeod. Hit Hard deals with the messy contradictions of a life where suffering and joy are not strangers but siblings that share the same house.

The Language of Loss

Pat and Tammy were attending a ministry meeting when they received a nightmarish phone call. Their son Zach had sustained a catastrophic head injury in a high school football game. Zach survived, but today he speaks with great difficulty and requires 24/7 care. Pat and Tammy had to come to grips with the complex realities of taking care of him while parenting their other three children and juggling their careers in ministry. They both serve as chaplains for Cru, an interdenominational Christian ministry, at Harvard University. Tammy is also the director of College Ministry at Park Street Church in Boston.

The McLeods wrestled for a way to understand what they were experiencing. Alternating as authors, Pat and Tammy write about the same events from different points of view. Having and not having their son in the way they once did put them on what felt like opposing sides. Pat focused on the “have” part of that reality, while Tammy gravitated toward the “have not” end. As a result, they struggled to connect with one another in their grief. This book is as much about how a marriage survives in the wake of a crisis as it is about the ongoing trauma.

Because Hit Hard is so honest, it is also raw, intense, and messy. It is emotionally difficult and uncomfortable to read. The book takes readers through a series of traumatic events and explores how Pat and Tammy process each of them and the relational challenges that ensue. The details of their loss are heart-wrenching: Tammy gets cancer, and Zach sustains a second brain injury. For people who have endured trauma (or are enduring it still), the details of their journey may reopen wounds before providing hope.

The McLeods could not find language for what they were experiencing, which only deepened their sense of loss and isolation from their community and from one another. Their friends were unsure what to say. Should they share their joy that Zach had survived? Or grieve with them for the loss of the life that was?

Countless books and articles on grieving failed to speak to the McLeods’ circumstances. Finally they found a book by family therapist Pauline Boss called Ambiguous Loss: Learning to Live with Unresolved Grief. Putting a name to their experience was powerful. The words “ambiguous loss” validated their pain. They were not alone in their pain; it had a category of its own and was shared by others.

Boss describes two kinds of ambiguous loss. One is when the physical body is absent yet the person is psychologically present in the mind of the loved one. Examples of this include those missing because of war, natural disasters, kidnapping, adoption, or divorce. The other kind of loss happens when a person is bodily present but is not the same cognitively or emotionally. Examples of this kind of loss include people affected by Alzheimer’s, addiction, mental illness, or debilitating brain injury.

Boss wrote that to pursue closure is a fruitless endeavor. Fixing the ambiguity is often impossible. The goal then becomes how to live well with the ambiguous loss and increase tolerance for it. Tammy writes, “The secret to living well with ambiguous loss requires living well with both having and not having someone the way you once had them.” The McLeods needed to learn how to hold two opposing ideas in their minds at the same time. The Zach they had known was gone. A new Zach survived. They celebrated his survival but mourned what had happened to him.

Finding out that their grief had a name somehow changed things for the McLeods. It not only authenticated their pain but also clarified the source of the tension in their marriage. They realized their marital challenges had not been rooted in one spouse being right and the other being wrong. It was the ambiguity of the loss. Giving a name to their grief did not remove the debris, but it did throw light on the scene, so that they were less frequently tripping over things or bumping into each other in the dark.

Redeemed Ambiguity

In the beginning of the book, Tammy laments all of the things her son could never do again. He would never play football or sing with her, a hobby they enjoyed together. A scene at the end of the book illustrates how Tammy has made peace with their reality. Two hulking football players are holding Zach up as the three of them step onto the playing field. Zach is dressed in the team uniform, but he isn’t playing. His gait is not as smooth and his posture not as straight as the other players. But Zach is a leader in his own way. He sets an example by showing up and rising from every hard hit of life. He plays a motivational presence on the field and in the community.

Hit Hard can help those struggling with all kinds of grief, but especially those experiencing loss that has no clear end. Tammy felt understood when she read Boss’s words that living with continuous uncertainty and loss “is the most stressful kind of loss people can face.” The book can also help those who want to support someone experiencing a loss that feels complex, contradictory, and elusive. And lastly, it may assist marriages or other relationships in tension due to differences in how people process grief.

As Pat writes, “Ambiguous loss will probably always remain part of our family’s legacy. It will move in and out of the forefront, but never completely disappear. Like mountain hikers, we’re learning how to cinch our backpack straps tighter, adjust the weight so it doesn’t rub on already stressed spots, and keep climbing….Today we live in that redeemed ambiguity—incredible suffering and incredible love in the same messy world.”

Joyce Koo Dalrymple is a wife and mother, a minister of discipleship and women, and a former attorney.

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2019/september-web-only/hit-hard-pat-tammy-mcleod-football-brain-injury-trauma.html

VIDEO The Immensity and Intensity of the Christian Faith – A deeper meaning to the crucifixion

SEPTEMBER 4, 2019 BY FRANCES ROGERS

Or, we might use the title, The Immensity and Intensity of the Gospel.
They are the same.

There is no Christian faith without the Gospel.

The Gospel is the means to a life of faith. It is more than just words spoken by men. The good news of Christ is more than men can ask and more than men can imagine. It is the revelation of the kingdom of God by the Spirit of God within the spirit of men.

It is meant to be experienced within the mind, the heart, and the life of men ~ beyond our own doing.

The Christian faith is different than any other faith. It is the only religion that addresses, deals with, and resolves the issues of sin and death.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ promises more than any other ~ promises we can trust ~ greater than any man could plan for himself.

Its immensity is little known because man cannot desire what he has never tasted. We do not taste unless we are drawn to and search God’s Word. The kingdom of God is the kingdom of the Christian faith to which the Gospel brings His people.

“It is the Father’s good pleasure to give us the kingdom.”
Luke 12:32

Who can describe such a kingdom?

The intensity of the Gospel and the Christian faith that excels through the Gospel is the working of the Gospel itself by the power of the Holy Spirit in the heart and life of men. Yes, I am repeating myself. The Gospel bears repeating even as preachers continue to proclaim the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 10).

It is not puny words of men that fall to the ground, but it is the power of God for salvation to those who believe (Romans 1:16). It is power to quicken those who are dead in their trespasses and sin, awakening their senses to their sin and need of a Savior.

The power of the Gospel is the good news of Christ raising the dead to life in Him.

And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,
Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead,
and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,
Even when we were dead in sins,
hath quickened us together with Christ,

(by grace ye are saved;) 
Ephesians 1:19-20; 2:5

No minister, worth his salt, will throw out a dry bone to his congregation. Dead men need the meat of God’s Word to live. Those who have been revived ~ made new through the new birth of the Gospel ~ need the continual Gospel to grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ as we wait for the promise of eternal life in Him.

The man of God digs deep into the treasury of God’s Word and presents those treasures to his hearers.

The Gospel works its immensity within the hearts of the ministers of the Gospel.

They must be overwhelmed with the greatness of God’s redeeming love.

They must know the reality of a heavenly Father who, in the covenant of redemption, planned to sacrifice His own Son to secure our place with Him for eternity and the reality of His Son, in agreement with this covenant to sacrifice Himself.

What love! What sacrifice! ~ immensity of grace greater than can be comprehended by mortal men.

This should bring forth an intensity of the Gospel which the man of God cannot keep to himself.

He should be zealous, always ready to present the Gospel wherever He is called, to whoever hears.

Are there such ministers in the world today? Yes! I would not be writing on this subject if it were not so.

Our own pastor, Chris Strevel, is such a minister of the Gospel and the Christian faith. Preaching for thirty years, he holds Christ in the center of every sermon, continuing to unfold the treasures of His kingdom. My heart is weekly quickened, opened and enabled to receive the Good News of Christ ~ His grace and His glory. You can listen or view all his sermons on Sermon Audio. He is presently preaching through the Gospel of Luke and Exodus.

Another pastor, Ryan McKee, in Northern Ireland, is younger, but also preaches the immensity of the Gospel with the intensity of Christ. I began watching these services in 2016 when we were unable to attend church for ten months. Five hours ahead, their morning worship is at seven. Their evening worship is at two. Ryan is preaching through the Sermon on the Mount from Matthew’s Gospel.

We have one among us here on WordPress from California. Check Jim’s blog here.

I mention these who are devoted to Christ and His Gospel as they serve God’s people. The Gospel and the Christian Faith are too valuable to take for granted ~ too precious to keep hidden. If you know other local pastors, please let me know.

We should pray for a revival among the ministers of God’s Word in our local churches. Some preach to the masses in conferences, etc. but we need daily, weekly oversight of pastors who shepherd God’s people in the name and power of Christ.

Gracious heavenly Father. Lay it upon the hearts of your ministers to draw near to you ~ to seek the face of Christ as never before. By your Spirit, draw them to your Word, fill their hearts with the zeal for the power of the Gospel. Enable them to proclaim your Word to your people. Open the hearts of your people to hear and to live the Christian faith Jesus died to give. In His name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

Five Lessons for Preachers  Charles Spurgeon

The Immensity and Intensity of the Christian Faith


A deeper meaning to the crucifixion | IN HIS DEATHS | The Book of Mysteries

VIDEO Exiting the Easy Street of Addiction

“To me there was no God,” says Paul. “If you’re real why – why you let these things happen to us?’  You know, ‘Why do we live the way we live?’”

Paul grew up desperately poor in Odessa, Texas. His father disowned him when Paul was a child, and his mother resorted to prostitution to make ends meet. Paul turned to the streets and was smoking marijuana by the time he was nine years old. He says, “The streets was my life. You know, that’s-that’s what I turn to.  You know, me and my friends, you know, we – that’s – that was our lives, you know?  Our parents were at the bars, clubbing, doing their thing and-and we were in the streets just, you know, maintaining.”

There was rarely food in their home. One Saturday when he was nine years old Paul decided to burglarize a friend’s house. He says, “I was tired of my family being hungry; I was tired of my family being hungry. I went in through the window and I went straight to that drawer and that Crown Royal bag was in there. It was probably about $37 if I recall right.  And uh I took that money.  I took his money.  I went to – there was a grocery store a couple of blocks down, I went to the grocery store and I grabbed me a basket and I started throwing food in that basket. But that was like my actual first burglary I ever did.”

In his teens drug use, crime and violence were a regular part of his life. Paul idolized the old gangsters who ran the streets. “And I started looking up to them guys and I would always tell them, I said, “Well, you know, I want to be like him one day.  You know, I’m going to be like him.  I’m going to be respected and I’m going to be like that guy one day.”

At seventeen he was convicted of burglary and spent 18 months in prison, while behind bars his mother died. Paul says his heart grew cold as he contemplated suicide. He says, “I sat there and thought about it, I said, ‘You know, I’m not going to take my life.’ I said, ‘You know what?  I’d rather take somebody else’s life.’ That was the first thing that came to my head.”

He joined a prison gang and was quick to rush into violent brawls. When he was eventually released from prison his life further unraveled.  “My heart was just cold.” He says, “I just like gave up on life.  You know, I started using harder drugs.  I mean, I started smoking heroin and like I used to smoke crack cocaine.  You know, there was days I’d go without bathing and – just to stay high.”

He got his girlfriend pregnant and had they had a daughter. For the first time in his life Paul found something to give his life meaning. “When I seen my daughter that was like ‘God’ I was like ‘the best gift ever.’  You know?  Like I’ll never forget it, I cried, you know? I actually had something to live for. I had my daughter now.

He got married and tried to settle down, but he was powerless to give up his old ways. Before his daughter was a year old Paul was back in prison on a DWI and parole violation. Once back on the outside his drug use escalated. Eventually his wife left, and took their daughter with her. Paul remembers, “I walk into an empty house.  I’m talking about like completely cleaned out and I go into our bedroom and my, the only thing in the closet was my clothes and she-she left me a mattress.  On top of that mattress she left me a Bible.”

Soon after power and water were cut off to the apartment and Paul was desperate for hope. “I grabbed that Bible I’d put on the bookshelf, I just opened it. I didn’t know nothing about it.  I opened it up and it was the book of Psalms.  And I started reading it- Then I broke down and started crying and said, ‘I’m tired of this life.’ I said, ‘I’m tired of it.’  I said, ‘I’m going to try to live it this way, that way,’ I said, ‘And I’m getting nowhere.’ … I just reach – got on my knees and reached out like that.  I couldn’t stop crying.  And I didn’t know what it was, and I’m like, ‘Man, I ain’t weak.  I ain’t – I’m not weak.’  And like I say, man, I didn’t know – I say, ‘Is this you, God?’  And then I would get the chills like – just like all through my body like-like the Holy Spirit just like being manifested in me and I was like ‘Man, if this is you’ I said, ‘I’m done, Lord.’ I said, ‘I’m done. But whatever, if you hear me right now,’ I said, ‘Don’t let it go away.’  Said, ‘Don’t let it go away.  I’m done.’

Paul surrendered his life to Jesus and was immediately set free from drugs and alcohol.  He says, “That one day I said ‘I’m done.’  I was done.  I didn’t need no rehab, I didn’t need nothing.  Already he was my Lord and Savior, accept him in my life and I have not touched a drug since then, Had no alcohol since then. And I’m letting him take over in my life I just ride passenger and I’m letting him steer the wheel now.”

He gained custody of his daughter and raised her by himself for the last ten years. Paul now reaches out to his friends on the streets and in prison with the message of hope in Jesus. He says, “The only thing you have to do when you get out of here is keep accepting him as your Lord and Savior.” I say, “He-he’s going to guide you. Just continue worshiping the Lord.”

Paul says he can now see the loving hand of God was always with him. “Ah man, he’s a merciful, loving God, man. Whenever we did have the little food that we did have, that was God. You know, for us surviving and living through all that, that was cause of God.   I know he loves me.  He loves my family, all my family, and we all love him and we praise him every single day.”

Exiting the Easy Street of Addiction
“To me there was no God,” says Paul. “If you’re real why – why you let these things happen to us?’ You know, ‘Why do we live the way we live?’” Paul grew up desperately poor in Odessa, Texas

https://www1.cbn.com/video/SAL233v1/exiting-the-easy-street-of-addiction

LGBT Activists Hate Christianity — and Want to Destroy It

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LGBT Activists Hate Christianity — and Want to Destroy It

If ever there were a case of projection, it’s when our sexual devolutionaries (a.k.a. LGBT activists) accuse Christians of being hateful — then turn around and hatefully persecute Christians. In fact, warns American Thinker’s Fletch Daniels, Christianity’s destruction is their unstated goal.

Daniels opens his piece with the story of New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who was attacked last week for appearing in a Focus on the Family (FotF) video encouraging children to carry Bibles to school. It didn’t matter that Brees had previously appeared in anti-bullying ads in support of the sexual devolutionaries; that FotF embraces the Christianity-spread, Truth-based conception of marriage and sexuality meant that, in their eyes, Brees was no longer the bee’s knees.

Thus did the sexual devolutionaries sack Brees, and thus did Brees — concerned about making his next $10 million, like so many wealthy people — give up the ball, saying he didn’t actually support the organization he did a video for.

While Brees didn’t do anything even remotely “anti-LGBT,” as Daniels puts it, his “sin” was making common cause with a group the sexual devolutionaries hate and promoting a book they hate just as much. Moreover, this reflects a very dark and deeper reality, as Daniels warns:

For too long, many Americans have misunderstood the goals of the LGBT community, particularly its activist leaders. The majority of Americans thought this movement was about winning acceptance and tolerance of gay Americans, something few people found objectionable.

But that was never the goal.  It was only an intermediary step. The goal was always about forcing Americans to celebrate and bow before the full and ever-expanding LGBT agenda while detaching America from its Judeo-Christian heritage and moral framework. The destruction of Christianity in society is the goal.

Note that liberals are always the aggressors on this issue. While many Christians do not want to be forced to celebrate what they believe to be sin, they are not attacking or discriminating against members of that community. Most Christians rarely think about this issue at all. But they also don’t want to be forced to violate their own deeply held religious beliefs, which is where they become vulnerable for attack. Since they don’t celebrate the LGBT agenda, they are the enemy.

This is why Christian businessmen, from bakers to florists to wedding planners, have been persecuted in recent years for refusing to service events — faux (same-sex) weddings. The irony is that these Christians weren’t trying to shut down these faux weddings; in typical conservative style, they simply didn’t want to participate in something they found objectionable. Yet the leftist attitude is far different: “Someone somewhere disagrees with me. He must be destroyed!”

Yet let’s be clear about what’s really going on. I know of a man who’ll now admit that when he was a young secular hedonist dismissive of religion, he didn’t know Protestantism from Catholicism from Zoroastrianism doctrinally speaking. He had a sky-high libido and sex was very important to him, however, and he did know this: If the “religious nut jobs,” as he put it, got their way, girls wouldn’t be as generous with their bodies.

Just as threatening a greedy man’s money or a power-hungry politician’s office can evoke his wrath, the sexual devolutionaries will seek to destroy anyone or anything that imperils their passions. Christianity does just that, too, with its model for human sexuality.

Sex is a powerful force, and this really is a situation in which the sexual devolutionaries say, on some level, “This universe isn’t big enough for the two of us.”

Delving a bit deeper, when people have an affinity for a given sin — or as some today say, “preference” — they don’t generally exclaim, “Hey, I’m evil and love it!”

Rather, they seek rationalizations, and don’t want anyone shattering that bubble of self-delusion. Of course, Christianity does that, spectacularly, calling sin “sin,” telling these people they’re wrong (in the true, absolute, unchanging sense), and that we’ll all be judged for our actions. If Christianity is right, they’re wrong, so Christianity can’t be right. To them, the Good News is bad news — and must become yesterday’s news.

This helps explain legislation Daniels warns about, the misnamed “Equality Act,” which will certainly become law if the Democrats retake the Senate and presidency. Under it, explicitly “Christian institutions will be forced to service acts they find sinful or be driven out of business,” writes Daniels, as he says it offers no religious exemption.

“Imagine Christian teachers being forced to teach and accept dozens of ‘gender identifications’ in their classrooms within a Christian school,” Daniels writes, providing an example. “When and if this act goes into effect, an army of lawyers will immediately go into action to attack Bible-believing Christians” — and stamp out faithful dissent.

After all, it has long been known that perhaps the best way to “destroy” faith is to force people to behave wholly contrary to it; once accomplished, a person’s religion becomes a hollowed-out shell, devoid of substance and the capacity to enrich life and, having been rendered meaningless, may be discarded.

Interestingly, the reason why Christians (and conservatives) are now experiencing intense intolerance isn’t because of any distant Christian history of intolerance, but because of a recent history of tolerance. “Tolerance of right and wrong, truth and error, virtue and evil, Christ and chaos,” as then-monsignor Fulton J. Sheen wrote in 1931. “Our country is not nearly so overrun with the bigoted as it is overrun with the broadminded.” (Or that was the case, at least — until modern leftists came along.)

I examined this in the 2013 essay “The Acceptance Con,” which may be the most important work I’ve ever written. Its main point is that tolerance leads to acceptance, then (barring robust pushback) to effective marketing, and then to the subordination of market competitors, whether what’s tolerated is good or evil. And so it has come to pass that oh-so-tolerant, lukewarm Christians allowed the sexual devolutionary beast to escape the closet — and now find Christianity being shoved in there itself.

https://www.thenewamerican.com/culture/item/33387-lgbt-activists-hate-christianity-and-want-to-destroy-it